Wind prevails as Spain’s main energy source

Spain's grid operator Red Electrica De Espana has revealed that the country's main energy source is now wind and has helped cut its emissions by 23.1%.

Announcing the findings in a preliminary report, the figures showed that wind power has been, for the first time ever, the technology that contributed most to the annual electricity demand coverage (with a share of 21.1% compared to 18.1% in 2012), reaching the same level as nuclear which contributed 21% (22.1% in 2012).

Driving renewable energy generation further, hydroelectric energy doubled its contribution to 14.4% in 2013, compared to 7.7% in 2012.

Having seen its contribution to the grid fall from 35.3% in 2010 to 31.9% in 2012, renewable energy has soared this year, contributing 42.4%.

Last year’s increase has been largely due to the high rainfall recorded, increasing the share of renewable energy in the coverage of demand by 10.5 percentage points higher than the previous year.

The report states: “Throughout 2013, the all-time highs of wind power production were exceeded. On February 6, wind power recorded a new maximum of instantaneous power with 17,056 MW at 3:49 pm (2.5% up on the previous record registered in April 2012), and that same day the all-time maximum for hourly energy was also exceeded reaching 16,918 MWh”.

Similarly, in January, February, March and November wind power generation was the technology that made the largest contribution towards the total energy production of the system.

Meanwhile, the contribution of coal-fired and combined cycle power stations were down 14.6% and 9.6% respectively, compared to 19.3% and 14.1% in 2012.

The increase in renewable energy generation in 2013, compared to the previous year, has reduced CO2 emissions of the electricity sector on the Spanish peninsula to 61.4 million tonnes, 23.1% lower than in 2012.

December 2013 was also a record-breaking period for wind power in the UK, with more electricity generated from wind than in any other month.

During December, a total of 2,841,080 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity were generated by wind power for the National Grid – enough to power more than 5.7 million British homes. Overall, wind power supplied 10% of Britain’s total electricity demand for homes, businesses and factories.

The figures from Spain and the UK will reassure the UK Government who recently increased support for offshore wind, with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg claiming its strategy will help keep Britain the world leader in “one of the most important industries of the 21st Century”.

In December, the Government announced that financial support for offshore wind would be increased by £5 per megawatt hour, from £135/MWh to £140/MWh.

Leigh Stringer

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